In years to come political scientists,analysts and historians will see this as the age of the database. No problem faced by government was solvable without the creation of a database. No Minister could look their fellows in the eye without being the Minister who introduced another database. No civil servant could claim to serve the public without doing so via a database. In the world of the free market, evolution would give us the databases we need. While others believed that come the revolution everyman would have their own database and all databases would be equal.
This obsession with databases and the attendant technology will mark out the political territory. At the moment the sections of the media still being kind to Gordon Brown are heralding the start of another 'fight back' by him, how many is that now?
The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) is busily putting all 11 million children in England on the ContactPoint database. According to the DCSF 390,000 people will have access to the database (others say could be up to 1 million.) Details to be recorded consist of:
Name, address, gender, date of birth and a unique identifying number.
Nine new states have joined the European border-free zone. There are now 24 nations in the Schengen agreement. Countries such as Ukraine complain that they now have to pay 35 Euros and negotiate a bureaucratic net before getting a visa whereas these were formerly free and easy to obtain. However, our leaders seem happy and EU 's President Barrosso was at the celebrations. The Schengen system rests on a database rather unfortunately called the SIS (Schengen Information System), this is in addition to EURODAC,VIS, API, APP, SIRENE and to come, PNR like the American model about which there have been protestations from politicians. There has been so much angst expressed about ID cards recently in the UK you would have thought that there would have been some mention of these EU databases.
The LibDems and the Conservatives are against ID cards but don't mention how these objections are reconciled with the need for EU wide data processing of most areas of our lives. How can the EU have a harmonised system of nearly everything if the member countries cannot share information about individuals and vehicles, when there is free movement of people and goods? The system to facilitate this is called IDABC, this proposes eID interoperability for Pan-European e Government Services(PEGS) by 2010.